Hiatus and comeback (1997-2005)After wrapping up the tour promoting Test for Echo in 1997, the band entered a five-year hiatus primarily due to personal tragedies in Peart's life. Peart's daughter Selena died in an automobile accident in August 1997, followed by the death of his wife Jacqueline from cancer in June 1998. Peart took a hiatus to mourn and reflect, during which he traveled extensively throughout North America on his BMW motorcycle, covering . At some point in his journey, Peart decided to return to the band. Peart wrote Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road as a chronicle of his geographical and emotional journey. In this book he writes of how he had told his bandmates at Selena's funeral, "consider me retired." On November 10, 1998 a triple CD live album entitled Different Stages was released, dedicated to the memory of Selena and Jacqueline. Mixed by producer Paul Northfield and engineered by Terry Brown, it contained three discs packed with recorded performances from the band's Counterparts, Test For Echo, and A Farewell to Kings tours, marking the fourth officially released live album by the band.
After a time to grieve and reassemble the pieces of his life, and while visiting long-time Rush photographer Andrew MacNaughtan in Los Angeles, Peart was introduced to his future wife, photographer Carrie Nuttall. Peart married Nuttall on September 9, 2000. In early 2001 he announced to his band mates that he was ready to once again enter the studio and get back into the business of making music. With the help of producer Paul Northfield the band returned in May 2002 with Vapor Trails, written and recorded in Toronto. To herald the band's comeback, the single and lead track from the album, "One Little Victory" was designed to grab the attention of listeners with its rapid guitar and drum tempos. Vapor Trails marked the first studio recording not to include a single synthesizer, organ or keyboard part since the early 1970s. While the album is almost completely guitar-driven, it is mostly devoid of any conventional sounding guitar solos, a conscious decision made by Lifeson during the writing process. According to the band, the entire developmental process for Vapor Trails was extremely taxing and took approximately 14 months to finish, by far the longest the band had ever spent writing and recording a studio album. The album was supported by the band's first tour in six years, including first-ever concerts in Mexico City and Brazil, where they played to some of the largest crowds of their career.
A triple CD live album and dual DVD, Rush in Rio, was released in late October 2003 featuring an entire concert performance recorded on the last night of their Vapor Trails Tour, November 23, 2002, at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, June 2004 saw the release of Feedback, a studio EP recorded in suburban Toronto featuring eight covers of such artists as Cream, The Who and The Yardbirds, bands that the members of Rush cite as inspiration around the time of their inception. To help support Feedback and continue celebrating their 30 year anniversary as a band, Rush hit the road again for their in the summer of 2004 playing dates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. On September 24, 2004 a Frankfurt, Germany concert was recorded at The Festhalle for DVD (titled R30: Live in Frankfurt), which was released November 22, 2005; a complete version of the R30 Frankfurt set (the original DVD release omitted eight songs) was released on Blu-ray on December 8, 2009.
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